International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 117–121 | Cite as

Fruit and vegetable consumption and sports participation among UK Youth

  • Kareena McAloney
  • Hilary Graham
  • Catherine Law
  • Lucinda Platt
  • Heather Wardle
  • Julia Hall
Brief Report



UK guidelines for youth recommend daily physical activity and five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. This study examined the prevalence and clustering of meeting recommendations among 10- to 15-year old.


Data for 3,914 youth, from the first wave of Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study, were analysed. Clustering was assessed using the observed/expected ratio method.


A minority of youth met both recommendations, and these behaviours were clustered. The odds of meeting both recommendations were lower for older youth and for Pakistani and Bangladeshi youth; boys in lower income households were less likely to meet both recommendations.


Most youth met neither recommendation and the behaviours clustered with variations by ethnicity and socioeconomic conditions.


Fruit and vegetable consumption Physical activity Clustering 



This work was supported by the funding from the Public Health Research Consortium, (PHRC). The Public Health Research Consortium is funded by the Department of Health (DH) Policy Research Programme. The PHRC brings together researchers from 11 UK institutions and aims to strengthen the evidence base for public health, with a strong emphasis in tackling inequalities in health. Information about the wider programme of the PHRC is available from The views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the DH.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


  1. Brener ND, Billy JOC, Grady WR (2003) Assessment of factors affecting the validity of self-reported health-risk behaviour among adolescents: evidence from the scientific literature. J Adolesc Health 33:436–457. doi: 10.1016/S1054-139X(03)00052-1 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cooke LJ, Wardle J, Gibson EL, Sapochnik M, Sheiham A, Lawson M (2004) Demographic, familial and trait predictors of fruit and vegetable consumption by pre-school children. Pub Health Nutri-CAB Int 7(2):295–302Google Scholar
  3. Craig R, Mindell J, Hirani V (2009) Health survey for England 2008. Health and Social Care Information Centre, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Currie C, Molcho M, Boyce W, Holstein B, Torsheim T, Richter M (2008) Researching health inequalities in adolescents: the development of the health behaviour in school-aged children (HBSC) family affluence scale. Soc Sci Med 66(6):1429–1436. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.024 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Department of Health (2010) Healthy lives, healthy people: our strategy for public health in England. White paper. HM Stationary Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Due P, Krølner R, Rasmussen M, Damsgaard MT, Graham H, Holstein BE (2011) Pathways and mechanisms in adolescence contribute to adult health inequalities. Scand J Public Health 39(Suppl 6):62–78. doi: 10.1177/1403494810395989 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. European Union (2008) EU physical activity guidelines: recommended policy actions in support of health-enhancing physical activity. European Union, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  8. Ferreira I, Van Der Horst K, Wendel-Vos W, Kremers S, Van Lenthe FJ, Brug J (2007) Environmental correlates of physical activity in youth—a review and update. Obes Rev 8(2):129–154Google Scholar
  9. Hardy LL, Grunseit A, Khambalia A, Bell C, Wolfenden L, Milat AJ (2012) Co-occurrence of obesogenic risk factors among adolescents. J Adolesc Health 51:265–271. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.12.017 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Janssen I, Katzmarzyk PT, Boyce WF, Vereecke C, Mulvihill C, Robers C, Currie C, Pickett W, The Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Working Group (2009) Comparison of overweight and obesity prevalence in school-aged youth from 34 countries and their relationships with physical activity and dietary patterns. Obes Rev 6(2):123–132. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-89X.200.0016.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Karlson K, Nazroo JY (2006) Defining and measuring ethnicity and ‘race’: theoretical and conceptual issues for health and social care research. In: Nazroo JY (ed) Health and social research in multiracial societies. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. McFall SL (ed) (2012) Understanding society—UK household longitudinal study: wave 1-2, 2009–2011, user manual. University of Essex, ColchesterGoogle Scholar
  13. Rasmussen M, Krølner R, Klepp K-I, Lytle L, Brug J, Bere E, Due P (2006) Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents: a review of literature. Part 1: quantitative studies. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 3:22–41. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-3-22 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Sallis JF, Prochaska JJ, Taylor WC (2000) A review of correlates of physical activity of children and adolescents. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32:963–975. doi: 0195-9131/00/3205-0963/0 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. University of Essex, Institute for Social and Economic Research and National Centre for Social Research (2012) Understanding society: wave 1, 2009–2010. Colchester. UK Data Archive SN: 6614Google Scholar
  16. WHO (2003) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  17. WHO (2008) Global burden of disease: 2004 update. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kareena McAloney
    • 1
    • 5
  • Hilary Graham
    • 1
  • Catherine Law
    • 2
  • Lucinda Platt
    • 3
  • Heather Wardle
    • 4
  • Julia Hall
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health SciencesUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.Institute of Child HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.NatCen, National Centre for Social ResearchLondonUK
  5. 5.Department of Psychology and Allied Health SciencesGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations